Kinder to use condo for St. Louis visits

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder says he will use a condominium paid for by his campaign when he visits St. Louis, in the wake of a St. Louis Post-Dispatch story reporting that taxpayers paid his tab for at least 329 nights at St. Louis-area hotels over the past five years.

Kinder told KFTK-97.1 FM in St. Louis on Monday that he will use a two-bedroom condo in Richmond Heights on visits to St. Louis. Campaign staffers will also use the condo, a campaign spokesman told the Post-Dispatch.

“It’s a little bit more expensive than I can afford, but we have decided to put this behind us,” Kinder told the radio station.

Kinder is a Republican from Cape Girardeau who is widely expected to run for governor next year.

The Post-Dispatch reported Sunday that Kinder’s St. Louis hotel stays cost taxpayers $35,050 since 2006. The newspaper said he stayed at hotels in St. Louis and St. Louis County while attending sporting events, society galas and even tea party rallies.

Kinder told The Associated Press he was audited in 2007 and 2010 by Democratic auditors and that the hotel stays were never an issue.

The Post-Dispatch reported that on three occasions, Kinder charged the state to attend tea party events, including one where he was introduced as “our next governor.”

Public employees are prohibited from using state resources for personal or political purposes.

Kinder had far more stays than any other statewide elected official. The Post-Dispatch noted. For example, Attorney General Chris Koster had 29 hotel stays in Missouri since 2009, including eight while trying a murder case in Kansas City. Over the same period, Kinder had 150 hotel stays in the state.

The Missouri Democratic Party called on Kinder to release more details about his travel and reimburse the state for trips that were not related to state business.

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